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Sum-up of Week 1

Sum up first week
© European University Institute / CERC Migration, Ryerson University

Hi everyone! Congratulations! You have made it to the end of the First Week of the Course.

  • We introduced some key terms related to the issue of migration – in particular, the notions of ‘irregular migration’ and ‘asylum’. We emphasized that these terms need to be applied carefully to have a reasoned discussion about migration. Additionally, we underlined how a common phrase like ‘illegal migrant’ not only hinders such a discussion, but it is inaccurate insofar as people cannot be illegal. At the same time, we indicated that insisting on distinctions between labour migration and asylum can conceal the blurred motives and experiences of the people who move across international borders. Maintaining this distinction is, however, often a formal requirement for those dealing with managing migration flows.
  • We then turned to the aftermath of the Syrian refugee emergency, the greatest one since the Second World War. Here, we focused our attention on the relocation of millions of Syrians to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, looking at the consequences of this mass exodus both for the refugees and the host communities.
  • We elaborated on how Germany and Canada dealt with the refugee situation, each applying different policies.

During our discussion on the Syrian conflict, we cited several statistics to underline the gravity of the refugee situation in the Middle East. You will have noticed that these numbers are in the main careful estimates based upon available records such as those of the UNHCR. As with our terms, we need to treat numbers with care. We need to be aware that numbers are disputed for several reasons, as for 2020 data, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Week Two we will turn our attention to migration to North America and across the Mediterranean Sea.

We will discuss the Mexican and Central American flows to the US and how the migration policies put in place by the Trump administration have affected them. We will also look into Canada’s policy on immigration and how it changed in the last few years.

We will analyze how the European Union has responded to an increase in maritime arrivals in recent years. We will do this by examining the EU policy, the attempts to create a common European asylum system, the redistribution strategy approved, and the agreements with third countries such as Turkey.

Stay with us!

© European University Institute / CERC Migration, Ryerson University
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